Thursday, 20 June 2019

Best Sketchbooks for Artists Review

Before you buy a sketch book there are some decisions to be made about what you want to use it for.Whether you are buying online or visiting an art supply store you will be confronted by a huge range of books in different shapes and sizes and varying in cost.

I have purchased a large number of sketch books  over the years always convinced that another one will have a special quality that justifies the expense. Not so.It is the large expensive ones that have remained half used and the small ones that I use the most.The sketch books that I am going to review have all been bought and used by me.If I reviewed every sketch book that I have ever bought this blog would be as long as Moby Dick.

What do you need to consider ?

Size,binding,format, paper quality. 


Larger sketchbooks are useful if you planning on drawings that may take some time in a formal setting like a life class or for planning a painting.The largest sketch book that I own is A3 .

Life Drawing Class

       My most frequently used sketch book sizes  are A4, A5 and a smaller pocket size book  which will fit into a bag when travelling.


     Sketch books can be bought with a spiral ring back or hard cover binding.
   I like spiral backs as these can be bent over and clipped to a drawing board if necessary .

                                                    SPIRAL BINDING

This is an A4 spiral backed sketch book with 100 pages of 130gsm cartridge paper from Rymans.

Hard backs  like this Daler Rowney do provide a firm drawing surface for drawing outside or if your book is likely to take a beating on a walking or camping trip.

                                                    HARD BACK BINDING                   
Daler Rowney Hard Back Sketch book

3.  Format     

Sketch books come in portrait and landscape formats. It is useful to have several sketchbooks so that you can choose the format that suits your situation best.
I like to open out landscape pages and draw across them fitting in figures  across the pages

The Williamsburg Lodge, USA


   Cheap sketchbooks have cheap paper which is only robust enough for light pencil sketches.If you are planning to do pen and ink drawings then buy something with good quality cartridge paper.Water colour paper sketch books will take the water without buckling the pages.
Moleskin Water Colour A3 Notebook -- Thorpe Bay,

Black paper gives good effects if you  can use white pencil,white pastel or correction pen.

White Pastel on Black Paper by Derek Batty


Why Sketch?

Sketch books do not have to be filled with perfect drawings.You can show them around or treat them as your private records of your world .

Some famous sketchers

 In the top sketch Vincent Van Gogh sends an idea for a painting of his bedroom to his brother Theo.
Below is a sketch of war time Londoners taking shelter from Nazi bombs in a London Underground station by Henry Moore.Best known for his sculptures Moore spent time in the English countryside and filled some of his sketch books with drawings of sheep.These were eventually published in a book that became a best seller.

Sheep, Henry Moore

 Click on the links below to see sketch books available from Amazon 




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